Thursday media watch [25.04.13 PM]: Lambert on Di Canio factor
Clubcall: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists his side are confident of survival as they prepare for the final run in. Villa are three points clear of third from bottom Wigan, who have a game in hand, ahead of the visit of relegation rivals Sunderland on Monday. Lambert's side could be in the Premier League relegation zone by the time they play again if the Latics beat Spurs on Saturday, as Wigan have a superior goal difference. Villa were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester United in their last fixture, but Lambert insists the defeat has not had an impact on the squad's morale.
Sunderland Echo: Paul Lambert has played down Paolo Di Canio's impact at Sunderland and feels the Black Cats are still right in the middle of the relegation battle. Since taking over at the Stadium of Light last month following the sacking of Martin O'Neill, Di Canio has overseen two wins from three Barclays Premier League games to help the Black Cats climb six points clear of the bottom three. Controversy over the Italian's political beliefs dominated the days after his appointment but his flamboyant touchline antics during the brilliant 3-0 win over Newcastle drew focus onto the impact he could have on the field instead. Victory over Everton followed and another three points at Villa Park on Monday would take Sunderland to the magic 40-point mark. As a protégé of O'Neill from the Northern Irishman's Celtic days, Villa boss Lambert understandably feels loyalty to his former manager, and his focus is on engineering a Villa win that would bring the two clubs level. Lambert believes Di Canio's appointment can only be deemed a success if Sunderland stay up, and that is far from certain with four games to go.
Sporting Life: Paul Lambert claims Sunderland are still right in the middle of the relegation battle as he prepares his Aston Villa side for their Monday night clash. Paolo Di Canio has helped the Black Cats climb move six points clear of the bottom three but Lambert reckons they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
ITV Football: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert feels the Barclays Premier League can learn a lot from the Bundesliga model after watching his former side Borussia Dortmund stun Europe. The Scot lifted the Champions League trophy as a midfielder with the Westphalian club in 1997 - a first continental title since reunification that provided a watershed moment for German club football. Sixteen years later the nation can dream of another history-defining summer as both Dortmund and Bayern Munich took dominant leads over Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona - 4-1 and 4-0 respectively - in this week's semi-final first legs. An all-German final at Wembley on May 25 would give British football fans the chance to observe the exciting brand of football first hand, and Lambert believes the evening could inspire jealousy and, as a result, possible reform in the Premier League.
Express & Star: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert today insisted Karim El Ahmadi can improve and the Moroccan midfielder will make an impact in the race for survival. The Villa boss has backed the 28-year-old to force his way into the side after a difficult year. Injury and international duty has limited the midfielder to just five appearances in 2013 but he has played 23 times since his £2million switch from Feyenoord last summer. El Ahmadi came off the bench to impress in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester United on Monday and Lambert has now thrown down the gauntlet.
Clubcall: Newcastle have joined Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund among a growing list of clubs keen to sign Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann. The Magpies are keeping a close watch on Weimann's situation at Villa Park after talks on a new deal for the Austrian international stalled earlier this year. Newcastle scouts have been impressed by Weimann, who has just over one more year left on his Villa contract.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.